Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - July 27, 2009

From: Grenada, MS
Region: Southeast
Topic: Best of Smarty, Non-Natives, Watering
Title: Why is my Weeping Fig crying leaves?
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

I have a weeping fig that I bought Memorial day in Birmingham, Al. It has 8 or 9 trunks growing altogether. It sits on a porch with eastern exposure, only about 2 hours of sun. It has been losing leaves steadily since I got it. They turn yellow and then fall off. I was watering it daily. Now I water it about once a week. But the leaves are still falling off. Could it be our bad water that is spoiling the plant? Thanks for any help you can give me.

ANSWER:

Weeping fig, Ficus benjamina is not a North American native plant species and is outside our area of expertise.  However, we may be able to help some. 

Mr. Smarty Plants once saw a cartoon of a weeping fig with the caption, "Ficus benjamina - Latin for, its leaves fall off."  Leaf drop is a universal truth of this species.  It will drop leaves in response to just about any change in its environmental condition: light, water, air temperature, relative humidity, you name it.  Leaf drop is a weeping fig's way of saying, "I don't like being messed with!"  Fortunately, ficuses rarely show any ill-effect from their leaf-shedding.  They usually soon produce new leaves and going on doing whatever the heck it is that ficuses do all day.  Watering once a week sounds about right.

 

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Non-native Crape Myrtle
August 07, 2006 - My local nursery saw the flower and said I have a crape myrtle...is this the common name or botanical name?
view the full question and answer

Native shrubs to replace non-native boxwood in Parker County, TX
January 31, 2009 - I'm looking to replace some Japanese Boxwoods my wife planted years ago with some native plants, they run along the front of our house next to the foundation and porch about 60' in length. I prefer ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for oak shade from Whitney TX
December 24, 2012 - I live in Whitney, Texas and have a number of beautiful Live Oak trees in a portion of my yard providing deep shade. Asian Jasmine grows in about 5 ft circle around them and then nothing! I have walk ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning of crepe myrtles
January 27, 2008 - I have three crepe myrtle trees in my yard. When do I trim back the branches? What if I waited too long to trim them back? Can I still do it? How far do I trim them back? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Non-native Genista racemosa from Houston
June 17, 2012 - Read your info on Genista Racemosa. Doesn't address my problem of it not blooming this year. It's in full sun and growing well, about 30" tall & round. Bloomed last year. We're feeding with ba...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.